Vision, the ability to close your eyes and imagine a future that not yet exists. It is the ability to see beyond what is in front of you and move towards something beyond your current self.
Take a moment, close your eyes and take a deep breath! How did that feel? What did you see?
2020 has always been thought of as having clear vision. Isn’t that what we hope for with each Eye Exam. I remember when our son was in elementary school, he wanted glasses so bad and crushed when the eye doctor informed us that his vision was PERFECT, 20/20. Well somehow that didn’t last for many more years. One day I received a call from his teacher telling me that she was concerned because he was complaining about seeing the board and it was causing him to have trouble in class. And what to do you know that 20/20 vision had somehow worked itself into a diagnosis of nearsightedness.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it seem like that’s what happened last year. I know for me 2020 started out with visions of doing so much, I was in the midst of planning two conferences, had travel plans to attend two more conferences, countless football games and many other meetups with family and friends. But just like our son’s vision, suddenly all of those plans became blurry.
So instead of 2020 being about conferences, travel and connections, 2020 was about fear, we were thrown into the middle of a global pandemic, racial unrest with the killings of young black men, the protest that followed and the division that ensued in our country and political division due to an unprecedented number of lawsuits that challenged the democracy that we have all come to know
What about you? How did you spend 2020? Were you paralyzed with fear? Were you afraid to venture out? Did you spend your time glued to media coverage of all that was going on around you? Did you find yourself getting pulled into divisive conversations that led to dead ends and lost friendships?
You know, even if you found yourself in one or more of those situations, that’s OK! The beauty about today is that we get to start new. To wipe the slate clean.
Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us that, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” Steadfast – to be firmly fixed, not subject to change, immovable. That’s God’s love for me, for you, for all of us. It is never changing. He loves us and as the saying goes, “there’s nothing we can do about it! Mercies, his compassion, his forgiveness towards us, never come to an end; they are new every morning”! That gives me HOPE, did you catch that, not a license to do wrong, but HOPE, in that fact that as an imperfect person, because of God’s mercies, I have the opportunity to begin again EACH and EVERYDAY!
SO NEVER, allow yourself to get caught up into that negative self-talk that so easily takes us captive and pulls us down into a pit so self-imposed misery.
I recently read a quote that went something like, “if you don’t come out of the pandemic with a new product, new book, etc. then it was never in you to begin with.” I don’t actually agree with that. After all, along with 2020 came a lot of emotional and spiritual challenges. Things like, depression, anxiety, abuse (alcohol, drug, emotional and physical) feelings of worthlessness and so on.
I don’t belittle the things that people may have experienced during this time of isolation. I Do however believe that for some of us, 2020 was a time of reflection. God in his infinite wisdom, removed the BIGGEST excuse used by so many of us, “I don’t have the time.” For a lot of us he removed the daily commute to the office, the lunch and shopping outings, the vacations that if we have to be honest lend more to the need for a vacation after the vacation because we don’t Know how to truly sit back and relax. He removed it all, giving us the opportunity to spend more time with him, more time for deeper Bible study, deeper prayer times, deeper inner reflections.
I believe that at some point rather through, prayer, personal fortitude, family and friends or professional help, there comes a time when we have to emerge! We have to come out of whatever may have been holding us back. Now is that time! We are three weeks into a new year, and we have the promise from God that his mercies are new every day, so that means today! Now is the time!
I know, you may be saying well there is still the same ol’ same ol’ going on, and to that I say you are right! We are about to embark on an historic week in our country, a Presidential Inauguration like none we have ever seen or imagined, from COVID protocols to intense security measures, the swearing in of not only the first female Vice President, but the first woman of color to ever hold such an office, a current President who is refusing to follow protocol when it comes to a peaceful transition of power and not to mention the threats of continued riots and unrest across our country. So YES, I get it.
But we are called higher. Romans 12:2 encourages us to, “not conform to this world, but instead to be transformed by the renewing of our minds” and Colossians 3:2 instructs us to, “set our minds on things above and not on the things that are of this earth”.
So yes, I say, now is the time to emerge new! And how do you ask do we emerge new? We start small, little by little and move forward from there.
Identify Your One Thing – That one little “Pet Thing” that seems to always prevent you from moving forward with the goals you have set out to accomplish. You know the thing, social media, TV, a lack of willpower, a lack of belief in yourself. The list goes on and on. Identify it and then take it to GOD!
Time with God: if you don’t already have a designated time set aside each day to spend with God begin there. If you already have a designated time, ask yourself, are you keeping that appointment time with God? If not, why? If it were a work appointment or a date with that special someone would you not put every effort into keeping that appointment, even preparing in advance and showing up early!
Don’t go it alone – find someone who will challenge you and hold you accountable to being the best you possible. Rather that’s finding a prayer partner, an accountability partner, a friend that you can go to when you are stuck or employing the services of a professional coach, just don’t try to do it on your own. Why, well, how has that worked out for you so far?
So, as we embark on this historical 3rd week of 2021, make the decision now, to make historical changes within yourself, so that as we move forward into this new year, you can fully emerge as the person God designed you to be!